- The Best Mini-ITX PC Cases for 2021(Budget & Top Picks)
- Buying Guides
- The Best Mini-ITX PC Cases
- Final Thoughts
The Best Mini-ITX PC Cases for 2021(Budget & Top Picks)
Apart from the motherboards, the CPUs, GPUs, RAM, and Storage drives, the cases are often considered something not important in the working of a personal computer. We are not saying “however” or something, because it is indeed not required for the computer to work. The case plays an important role in making your computer seem cool and sometimes helps distribute the heat away from the processor. In this article, we will introduce the best mini-ITX cases you can find on Amazon.
1. The size of your motherboard
Buying a case usually happens after you have already owned a motherboard. Therefore, you have to look for the size of your motherboard to find the fit case, because if it doesn’t fit, you will have to additionally drill some holes to put the motherboard in, or throw them away to buy a new set. Here are the most popular sizes of computer motherboards, and the fit cases:
- The ATX: This is the most popular size of motherboards being sold on the market. The ATX was introduced by Intel in 1995, and is still the king of motherboard sizes. Most of the regular computer cases for households support this size and if you’re not sure what your case’s size is, it’s probably ATX
- The Mini-ITX: The second most popular size in the world. It features much smaller dimensions, which is 6.7 inches x 6.7 inches. This form factor requires a totally different type of case, power supply, and sometimes different socket definitions.
- E-ATX: E stands for Extended, which is a definition of motherboards made for industries. E-ATX mainboards are often used in the rack system, which combine multiple small, droplet systems into a big and powerful server.
These are the most popular motherboard sizes. Be noticed that those were not all so you need to be sure of the size before deciding on your purchase.
2. The lighting of your case
A case plays a big part in making your systems seem cool and attractive. That’s why many brands have and are continuing to make the cases glow. What I mean by that is we usually see some cases with RGB lights, and they look cool. Here are some types of lighting that are available to cases:
- Single color light: Typically make the computer case glow in the dark, for affordable cases
- RGB color lighting: With this type of lighting, you can customize the colors you see on your PC case, to make it glow the way you want.
Finally, the disadvantage of lighting is the heat. The lights will significantly produce heat which will reduce the effectiveness of the ventilating system, so be sure to give it a real thought before purchasing one.
While the cooling capability doesn’t entirely depend on the PC case, it does work better with some specifically designed models. The cases contribute to the cooling process by making the way for the heat to go, or in other words, by redirecting the air flow to better distribute the heat. Few ways to cool the system down include:
- Holes: The holes are the essential parts of every PC case. If you can recall the Mac Pro with thousands of holes to ventilate, you’ll understand. It’s pretty right to say: the more holes, the better ventilation. However, it might affect the design concept, or in some rare cases, make the ventilation worse
- Water cooling support: A case is said to support water cooling when it’s designed for cooling tubes and screws to hang and be fixed onto. Some cases might be designed with built-in water cooling tubes, always for better ventilation.
- Fan: Aside from the CPU fans, and the power supply fan, cases also can have fans. They often take power from the power supply or the motherboard and contribute a little into directing the air flow inside the case.
- Thermal pad: Thermal pads are often made into places that contact directly with the CPU, power supply, or hard drives, absorbing the heat and carrying it outside
- The material: Stainless steel is of course a better solution to the heat problem than the plastic
4. The material
As I said earlier, the material can somehow contribute to the cooling process; however, it’s not everything. Here is the list of the material’s helps:
- To protect the inside components from being damaged: This is the point of the case. Sometimes, the case helps protect the components from outside forces, water and liquid, or even the environment’s heat.
- To ground some components: Some cases are even made to redirect electric charge to the ground, so that it would not damage the motherboard.
- To absorb the movements: Steel cases can sometimes protect the components better in terms of moving and relocating
- To help the antenna: Metal cases can sometimes be better for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals. But sometimes, they can be worse. It highly depends on the design of the case, so be sure to be considerate. We can’t say that for sure, generally.
5. Special requirements
- The legs: Helps the case stand on the ground without touching, eliminating the possibility of ground water going into the case.
- Mounting: Some cases may be made for some specific types of mounting: on the table, on the wall, behind the TV or monitor, or even on the ceiling.
The Best Mini-ITX PC Cases
1. Cooler Master NR200P
Cooler Master NR200P is the greatest case we have for you today. It comes from the great brand Cooler Master, being famous for all kinds of fans, thermal pads, cooling systems, and thermal paste. The NR200P is primarily designed for mini ITX form factor. However, it is compatible with mini DTX and ATX as well.
For the mini ITX size, it can mount multiple motherboards for the best performances. The Front panel offers you two choices, made of tempered glass for the best durability, or made of stainless steel for the best ventilation. The case can hold up to 7 fans, and 5 sides of open ventilation. The CPU coolers can size from 155mm to 280mm. With the case, you can mount vertically your full-size GPU with up to 330mm long triple-shot GPU support.
A PCI Riser is included for a stylish mount option. Every panel can be disassembled separately and every side of the case can be accessed for the best convenience. The brand also took into consideration the ability of a water cooling solution and an easy, tool-free access ability.
- Multiple motherboard compatibility.
- Tempered glass or stainless steel front panel.
- 7 fans + 5 sides of open ventilation.
- Triple-shot GPU support.
- PCI Riser.
- Tool-free access + water cooling ready.
2. NZXT H210 – CA-H210B-W1
NZXT H210 – CA-H210B-W1 is a redesigned product which features a clean, and modern look. The case only supports the mini ITX form factor, which means the case is fairly small. It comes in 3 colors: White, Black, and Black/Red, weighing over 240 ounces, which is pretty light.
Some new features made their ways into the case include the Front I/O USB Type-C support, the tempered glass side panel. The purpose of the panel is to help you show off the great builds inside of your computer. The patented cable routing kit with pre-installed channels and straps makes wiring easy and intuitive.
The case is water cooling ready, and especially two internal fans are included out of the box, making the air cooling easier to build.
- Nice design.
- Front I / O USB Type-C support.
- Tempered glass side panel to show off the builds.
- Cable Management System.
- Pre-installed fans for air cooling.
- Water cooling ready.
3. Montech Flyer Black
Coming from Montech, the Montech Flyer Black is a small micro ATX and mini ITX case, which looks small and attractive. Taking the first look at the case, you’ll instantly notice the RGB strip on the front panel. The 7-color RGB strip is a great choice for people who don’t like their case to glow entirely with lights, but only a small part, with grace.
Two pre-installed fans and a big area air circulation panel, the outstanding air flow top panel with magnetic dust-proof net, all to distribute the heat better, and prevent the dust from absorbing the heat. The case is said to be water cooling ready, and support up to 8 fans. Two 3.5-inch drives are supported and can be mounted directly without any further intervening. On the outside, it has two USB 2.0, one USB 3.0, one HD Audio, one mic, and a Light control button.
- 7-color RGB strip which is elegant.
- Micro ATX and mini ITX form factors.
- 8 fans.
- Magnetic dust-proof net.
1. How can I build my computer with the case?
A case is just a place to put all your computer’s parts inside. The case helps protect and organize the components, the wires, and the cooling systems. Here are the things you further need to build your own computer.
- A motherboard that fits the computer case.
- A processor needs to be compatible with the socket and the mainboard.
- RAM (Random Access Memory).
- At least one boot drive (it can either be an HDD or SSD or even USB Flash).
- A set of mouse and keyboard.
- At least one monitor.
- Power supply that fits the form factor (typically ATX).
- Power cord, HDMI or VGA cable, Ethernet cable, or Wi-Fi network.
- A case.
- Optional water cooling solution.
And the tools:
- A screwdriver.
- A manual.
Everything about installing a computer should be available in the manuals that come with your device. Be sure to handle the components with care, especially the socket and the processor, because they’re easy to break and expensive to replace.
2. Where does the RGB lighting take power?
It usually takes power directly from the motherboard. However, when the motherboard is not enough to support it, it takes power from the PSU, which is the power supply unit. When it’s plugged directly to the PSU, it is impossible to control the lights the way you want, unlike when the motherboard is involved.
3. What about the warranty?
The cases don’t seem to break easily. Therefore, we don’t see much of a warranty section for the computer cases. The computer cases are like kitchen shelves; they don’t usually come with a warranty policy.
4. How do I know what power supply fits my case?
To check the power supply, you need to notice the voltage and the current it can provide. It has to be at least equal to the power needed by the form factor (mostly ATX definition) in order for the mainboard to boot up. Otherwise, it would not work or even damage itself because of the low voltage.
When your PSU is perfect for your motherboard, it’s likely to be good for the case.
5. What should I do the improve the performance of the case:
- Clean the case regularly: Cleaning might remove some redundant dust, which is totally unnecessary, and in most cases, absorb lots of heat to heating up the PC
- Put it in a dry place: Moisture can make the rust appear on steel, or other metal; fire can damage plastic cases. Therefore, avoid extreme weather conditions, and environments.
PC cases are often considered a design thing to help your computer better. While the statement is somewhat true, there’s more. Cases help us a lot in terms of ventilation, shock resistant and decoration. Here’s our list for the best mini ITX cases:
- The best-mini ITX case for overall: Cooler Master NR200P
- The runner-up: Montech Flyer Black
- The best small minimalistic case: NZXT H210 – CA-H210B-W1
- The budget choice: SilverStone Technology Ultra Compact Mini-ITX Computer Case with Mesh Front Panel Black
- The best design in mini-ITX cases: Thermaltake Core V1 SPCC Mini ITX Cube Gaming Computer Case Chassis
Thank you for reading my recommendations today. Good cases are hard to choose and sometimes require deep knowledge in the field. We hope you have fun with choosing the best mini ITX cases and see you in the next articles!